A powerful runner that tends to crave contact. Plays with good pad level and lowers the shoulders to deliver big blow to a defender. Does a good job getting north and south and has good burst when he gets downhill between the tackles. Is patient and can wait for his blocks. Can sidestep a defender on the second level. Has good balance and decent footwork as a runner. Shows some ability to be a lead blocker out of the backfield, able to cut the linebacker or take him head on. Shows decent hands and will step up to chip or take on defender in pass protection.
A pure-straight line runner, and has to stop his feet to change direction. Has limited quickness and burst out of his breaks and won't make most defenders miss in space. Doesn't play with good vision and isn't a guy that can create and find cutback lanes. Drops too many catchable passes in the flat and doesn't really do a great job adjusting to many throws.
Asiata is a big, powerful runner that can get the job done between the tackles and in short yardage. But his limited upside as a runner means that he's probably better off bulking up and being converted into a fullback. He split reps with Eddie Wide last year. He missed most of his junior year with a knee injury after being the leading rusher as a sophomore. Combined for 375 carries for 1732 yards (4.6 avg) and 24 touchdowns in that span. He also caught 54 passes, including 32 this past year. He also broke his leg in the season opener during his freshman year, which does raise durability concerns. He was a transfer from Snow College, combining for 2309 rushing yards and 20 TDs in his two years at Snow (2005-06).
Asiata is a powerful runner that you like his physicality and pad level and he can run over guys at the next level. But he lacks vision and ideal speed and burst to be anything more than an average short-yardage and goalline runner. But he did flash potential as a lead blocker the times he was able to block for Wide in their double back set. And with his physicality, his potential as a lead blocker is much higher. He'll be a project there that probably would need a year or two on the practice squad. An easy comparison would be with Naufahu Tahi, who was a productive running back at BYU and then was converted to fullback, where he's become a decent role player with the Vikings over the past few years. Asiata can increase his prospects if he can perform early on special teams, but more than likely he bounces around some practice squads for a year or two and then by Year 3 should have bulked up enough and developed enough where he can land a role as a backup. Eventually he's good enough to be a capable starter there, but probably won't be an elite lead blocker. But a guy like Tahi that is good enough to get the job done most weeks.
Asiata would be a long-term project as a potential replacement for Mughelli. He would likely land on the Falcons practice squad for a year or two, and if he can play on special teams that will increase his chances of making the roster at some point. But if he can get a year or so to bulk up to around the 240-250 pound range, he has a chance to be a replacement candidate for Mughelli. And his experience as a runner and receiver means that can probably contribute more than Mughelli does in those areas. He doesn't have Mughelli's potential to be an elite lead blocker, but could be a decent stopgap for a few seasons until the Falcons find someone better down the road.
Asiata is too much of a project to be drafted, but a team should bring him to camp and see what he can do as a fullback.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Scouting reports of the running backs and fullbacks in the 2011 Draft.
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